The IRS Refunded $303 Billion So Far This Year — Don’t Miss the Oct. 15 Late-File Deadline

Meet the late-file deadline to ensure you get your tax refund.

With the April 17 tax filing deadline long past, most people have already received — and already spent — their refund. Over 108 million refunds have been issued so far in 2018, totaling $303.7 billion as of Aug. 31.

That’s about $1 billion more during the same period in 2017. A total of 111,873,000 refunds were issued by the end of 2017, worth $323.878 billion. The average tax refund this year is $2,793, up $11 from the 2017 average of $2,782.

Click to read more about when to expect your tax refund.

Most People Get a Tax Refund — Did You?

It can be fun to get a tax refund — people often look at it as “found” money and might use the refund to splurge on something they wouldn’t otherwise buy. In 2017, over 73 percent of processed tax returns resulted in a refund.

Consider this though: The nearly $324 billion the IRS paid out in refunds in 2017 was really an interest-free loan from taxpayers. This is money that was withheld from workers’ paychecks and paid out by the IRS months later.

Make Your Money Work

If you don’t want to give the federal government an interest-free loan, you can adjust your withholding allowance so that less money is taken out of your paycheck. Ask your employer for a Form W-4 to change your withholding allowance, and follow the instructions carefully since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 might impact the amount of taxes you will owe. The IRS has a withholding calculator that can help.

Click to keep reading about why 4.5 million people need to adjust their W-4s.

Don’t Miss the October Late-File Deadline

If you filed for an extension by April, your late-filing deadline is Oct. 15. Some people might have more time, such as those who are in the military and serving in a combat zone, or qualified taxpayers who have been impacted by natural disasters.

If you fail to file your taxes on time, you can be assessed a tax penalty, which is usually 5 percent of the unpaid taxes for each month or part of a month past the filing deadline. If you file but don’t pay, the penalty is half of 1 percent of the unpaid amount. So even if you can’t pay, file on time.

Tax Deductions 2018: 42 Tax Write-Offs You Don’t Know About

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About the Author

Karen Doyle

Karen Doyle is a personal finance writer with over 20 years’ experience writing about investments, money management and financial planning. Her work has appeared on numerous news and finance websites including GOBankingRates, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, USA Today, CNBC,, and more.

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